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Local News

NYS Budget includes funds to support tractor rollover safety program

Dan McClelland

State Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie is announcing she has restored $250,000 in the new state budget for the lifesaving Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program, which equips tractors with special safety equipment to avoid tractor overturns.  Funding for this program had been eliminated in the Executive Budget proposal.
Tractor rollovers are the leading cause of death on American farms, claiming the lives of nearly 100 farmers across the country annually. While most tractors built after 1985 have built-in rollover protection, tractors manufactured prior to that date—which many farmers use—do not have the safety feature in place.
The ROPS Rebate Program helps protect farmers by covering approximately 70 percent of the expense of purchasing and installing ROPS, which typically cost between $800 and $1,200.
“These devices have proven to save lives, but many farmers already have a tight budget,” said Senator Ritchie. “Our hardworking farmers do so much for our state, it is only fitting that we try to help them do their job as safely as they can. I am pleased to see that that this funding has been restored in the state budget and that we can continue to save lives on our farms.”
In the last 11 years, the program has outfitted more than 1,500 tractors across the state with the rollover-prevention device. However, nearly half of the tractors on New York State farms are still operating without it.
Including this year’s funding, Senator Ritchie has secured $1.5 million for this program, operated by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health.
For more information on the ROPS Rebate Program and details on how to apply, visit Senator Ritchie’s website at www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.